qathet Regional District staff to examine economic development app creation

Director proposes idea to promote what the area has to offer

A qathet Regional District director has proposed the development of an app to help promote economic development interests within the region.

At the January 16 committee of the whole meeting, Electoral Area C director Clay Brander said looking at the regional district’s strategic plan, there are six strategic priorities. He said those are the most important to the community. Of those six, one is economic development.

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“In my opinion we are not giving it the attention it deserves,” said Brander.

He added that over the past year, economic development has been provided passive support, such as funding for festivals, tourism and initiatives spearheaded by City of Powell River and Vancouver Island University.

Brander said the regional district has not really engaged in any active support for economic development. While contributions that have been made are a step in the right direction, he is looking for a way to have more long-lasting impact on economic development.

Brander suggested the development of a regional district app. He said telling people about the fantastic things the region has to offer would result in more money in the community.

“An app would put us in everybody’s pocket,” said Brander. “All businesses, big box stores, roadside stands and art studios would get valuable exposure. Clubs, recreational groups and social services would be at everyone’s fingertips.”

Brander said the intention would be for it to be self-supporting. Commercial entries would have small fees associated with them and all others would be free. Initial start-up costs would be required, but by the end of the year, all costs associated with setting up and maintaining the app would be passed on to the businesses included in it, according to Brander.

“The more businesses involved, the cheaper it would be for everybody,” said Brander. “I really see this as an opportunity for the whole region to come together for the benefit of us all, with support of the City of Powell River, Tla’amin Nation, community users, Tourism Powell River, the Rotary clubs and the chamber of commerce. I would expect it to be a big success and an asset for residents and tourists alike.”

Brander made a motion that the committee recommend the regional board directs staff to research and write a report regarding development and administration of a regional district app to promote economic development within the region.

The committee voted to refer the matter to staff.

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